I bought a second hand Microsoft Surface Pro last Saturday, and in only one day I managed to ruin the only USB 3.0 port in the device.
I bought a cheap USB 3.0 hub. It didn't work. The HUB had input for external power, and -unfortunately- I found among my old stuff a USB cable that had the right connector type. I connected the USB end of the cable to the external power source (it happens that the Surface's charging brick has, also, a USB charging port, so I used it), then I connected the DC type connector to the hub, then the hub to the USB port in the surface.
It didn't work, but later that night I found out that nothing was working anymore when connected to the Surface. Not even a pen drive (usb flash drive), and that was after my unfortunate tampering.
After all and tears, something gave me a little hope - the only device that worked was a flash drive-shaped MP3 player that plugs into the USB port, but has a chargeable battery inside. The computer was able to see the device. Then I made another test - I connected an external drive that came with a Y-cable (those who optionally draw energy from 2 usb ports), I connected one end to the computer and the other end to the AC adapter's charging USB port, and the HDD worked!
I So I guess that the USB port isn't able to provide energy anymore, but the DATA connection still works.
The multimeter, which shows around 4-5V in any USB port's VCC pin and the Ground pin, shows less than 1V on the Surface Port.
I think the port will be hard to fix. I would like to take a look inside, maybe even 'steal' the lost 5V from anywhere inside the surface, but opening The Surface Pro is hard dangerous. No screws, just glue, very tight, I'll probably break it.
Chances are that I can still use a powered external HUB to connect devices.
Anyway, I have very small knowledge of electronics and wanted to know a little more. I have some ideas for this small tragedy - So I have these questions about these projects:
Is it really possible I 'fried' the USB port or the energy-related circuit of it, by putting energy into it because of the cheap powered USB hub?
To those who know the Surface - would it be possible to build some kind of short USB cable (kind of an adaptor) that connected to all data pins on the USB, but drew the VCC from any other connector on the surface that provides 5V? So I would at least be able to plug in a USB flash drive or something.
Would it be possible to build some kind of USB extension cable (male USB to female USB) with a box in the middle to hold, say, 4 AA chargeable batteries? In that case I would cut out the wire that comes from the USB input and use the batteries to provide the energy to the device.
Any other thoughts are appreciated.